If you find that I’m raving too much in this article, then you’ve never been to Tony’s!
This isn’t aimed at the major account rep with an expense account who wants to take his best customer to Tony’s. The restaurant IS, but this article isn’t. This article is about the guys in the office who say, “Where do we go for lunch today?” The answer, with a straight face, is “Tony’s has a two-course Express Business Lunch for $25.” Now, if you’ve never been to Tony’s, that won’t mean anything. If you HAVE been to Tony’s, you’re out getting the car started. Much of what you pay for at Tony’s is, in my opinion, the smoothest and most on-point service in Houston. The service could be no better if you spent $200.
The Express Business Lunch is comprised of three two-course lunches with choices of Soup of the Day or Salad and a beautiful entree.
Soup the Day was a Potato Leek Soup. I would have been happy with half as much. With exquisite flavor, it seemed like the more I ate… the more was there. Courses arrived with no intermission. At least none until you were ready. Unlike many of the unique and intriguing soups at Tony’s, this one looked like Potato Leek Soup!
The salad choice was called Insalata Siciliana with Arugula, sliced multi-colored mini grape tomatoes, orange segments and an Italian dressing. Though I ordered soup, I accepted my host’s offer to steal salad from his plate. Wonderful.
I tasted the Grilled Chicken Giardino. It was a whole grilled chicken breast with no sauce (no sauce was needed, though). It was rosemary scented and adorned on one end with mixed local garden greens, including, but not limited to, sliced heirloom tomatoes and some crisp peppery arugula. It was sprinkled with caprino (an Italian goat cheese) which, in my opinion, gave the salad a unique Italian touch that you seldom see in Houston. While the flavors of the chicken AND the salad were enticing, chicken is usually not my first choice when also offered snapper and ravioli. This was certainly not the ho-hum chicken that one gets at most other restaurants! Far from it.
Snapper Francese was my favorite by far. Creamy and lemony with an English pea, cremini mushroom, red bell pepper and bianco sauce… the Snapper Francese, alone, was worth the trip.
Ravioloni Di Manza is one if the creamiest raviolini I have ever tasted! I have never seen or tasted short-rib-filled raviolini, but when the rib meat is roasted into submission before being stuffed into raviolini, it is sublime! That’s in addition to the fact that the two raviolini are huge! As luck would have it, I ate this dish ONE DAY before National Ravioli Day!
Blackberry Dream (a perfect Angel Food cake with Limoncello Cream) was NOT part of the Tony’s Express Business Lunch, but I had to show it as I had to try it. Absolutely “dreamy” and on the dessert menu, it’s worth the extra purchase.
And now an introduction to my host at our weekly lunch get-together host and my good friend, Chuck Gardner… a principal at Birraporetti’s next to the Alley Theatre downtown and a big fan of Tony’s.
No review of Tony’s can be written without congratulatory mention of Chef Kate McLean. Her name is linked to an article about her and Tony’s by Alison Cook. You would have to search far and wide to find a Chef de Cuisine so capable and polished who was hired at the age of 29 by Master Restaurateur, Tony Vallone.
I found the service and the Express Business Lunch to be well-prepared, well-presented and well-served. I will be back soon with my wife to try the evening dinner, as the menu has changed slightly since our last visit. Never hurts to please your wife. To keep up with Tony’s is to keep up with the one of the finest restaurants Houston has to offer.
3755 Richmond Avenue
Houston, TX 77046